Cribbing, weaving and other stereoptypic behaviors can be reduced through diet and stable management.
Recently I wrote about cribbing and how to help prevent it. Conventional wisdom has always been that frequent grazing and turnout can reduce cribbing behavior. Now a study conducted at the University of Bristol confirms that horses whose lifestyle approximates the natural grazing conditions of wild horses (nearly continuous eating of less nutrient-rich food) generally displayed quieter behavior and fewer steroptypic behaviors such as cribbing and weaving compared to horses fed infrequent, large and/or high starch meals. Researchers theorize that the more traditional diet may reduce digestive problems or blood sugar fluctuations.
This confirms it for me: my horse will continue to get as much grass hay as he wants and enjoy his 24/7 turnout! It hasn’t completely stopped his cribbing and weaving but now I know my perception that diet and turnout has helped control his stereotypic behaviors is more than just my imagination.
Read more details about the study at The Horse, Link Between Equine Diet and Behavior Explored.